Spelt zucchini and chocolate loaf

Spelt zucchini and chocolate loaf

Something wonderful happened on the weekend – the sun shone for two days running. This is a big deal of the “OMG” variety as the UK just had the wettest June on record. I wouldn’t mind so much about the constant rain if A) I wasn’t Australian, B) I wasn’t living in the UK, and C) it wasn’t “summer”. Ask anyone and they’ll blame the jet stream. Don’t worry, I hadn’t heard of it either. I won’t bore you with the details, but I’m happy to report the jet stream is getting its groove on and the big ball in the sky has now been shining for four days straight.

Spelt zucchini and chocolate loaf.

I recommend serving the loaf toasted with butter. It has a similar texture to banana bread.

Wonderful things happen when the sun shines. Like on Sunday my neighbour, Livvy popped over to offer me a cup of tea. Not being one to knock back a cup of tea made by a Brit (they make great tea), I said, “Oh yes please, that sounds great.” Next thing I know, a group of friends and a couple of Whippets were sprawled out on picnic rugs on Livvy’s front lawn sipping tea, eating cake and enjoying an impromptu tea party. Naturally, I jumped on the opportunity to serve up all the baked goods that were lying around my kitchen, including the delectable gluten-free ginger nuts, leftover gluten-free citrus cheesecake from Saturday night’s dinner party (stay tuned for the recipe) and the spelt zucchini and chocolate loaf that it the subject of today’s blog post.   

Impromptu tea party

Our impromptu tea party consisted of copious cups of tea, gluten-free ginger nuts, gluten-free citrus cheesecake and Livvy’s quadruple sticky chocolate spelt loaf (all homemade).

Wellies in the garden

Wellies drying out in the sunshine.

Snippet the Whippet chilling in the sun

Snippet the Whippet chilling in the sun with Frankie.

Two of my afternoon reads, 'The Flavour Thesaurus' by Niki Sergnit and 'Plenty' by Yotam Ittolenghi.

I spent much of the afternoon reading two fabulous new finds  – ‘The Flavour Thesaurus’ by Niki Sergnit and ‘Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi.

Baking a cake with zucchini is probably one of those things that polarises people in a love/hate kind of way. But if you’re anything like me, you’ll be doing backflips over it. In fact, all this zucchini grating has got me thinking about all the other things I can bake with vegetables, like red velvet beetroot cake, zucchini brownies and potato chocolate cake. But before you get too excited, this recipe is not gluten-free. It contains an ancient grain called spelt which is good for people who are sensitive to wheat. I’m sure the loaf would work just as nicely with a gluten-free flour mix like the one I’m going to try with the box of rice, tapioca and potato flour that just arrived on my front doorstep!

I wrestled over the name of this recipe as zucchini is known as ‘courgette’ in the UK. Zucchini isn’t the only vegetable suffering from an identity crisis of sorts. Take butternut squash, for example. They say “butternut squash”, I say “pumpkin”. They say “mangetout”, I say “snow peas”. They say “aubergine”, I say “eggplant”. And don’t even get me started on the whole pronunciation caper. I decided to stay true to my Aussie roots for this recipe and include zucchini in the title.

I’ve now made this loaf twice – the first time using walnuts instead of chocolate. On the second attempt, I didn’t have any walnuts in the pantry, so I used chocolate instead. Both worked beautifully. Maybe next time I’ll try using walnuts and chocolate. Mmmmm. The grated zucchini creates a lovely moist texture while the chocolate adds a nice sweetness and crunch. I find the loaf is best toasted and smeared with butter.

Spelt zucchini and chocolate loaf
Adapted from Channel 4 

Spelt zucchini and chocolate loaf

It’s challenging to take photos whilst baking. You should see the cake marks on my camera strap.

Spelt zucchini and chocolate loaf

Mixing the spelty batter.

Spelt zucchini and chocolate loaf

The finished product. It says, “eat me”.

Ingredients:

1 zucchini (around 1 cup grated)
75g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
2 tbs runny honey
75g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
2 free-range eggs (at room temperature)
juice of 1/2 small lemon (plus 1 lemon rind)
200g (1 1/2 cups) spelt flour
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
50g (1/2 cup) good-quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
2 tbs natural/plain yoghurt
75g (1/2 cup) raisins

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan forced) and place an oven rack in the centre of the oven. Grease and line the base of a loaf tin.

2. Grate the zucchini, put it in a sieve and leave for about 15 minutes to drain. Squeeze out any excess moisture with a tea towel and set aside.

3. Beat the butter, honey, sugar, vanilla and eggs with an electric mixer until smooth. Fold in the lemon juice and yoghurt with a wooden spoon (it will curdle, but that’s okay).

4. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cinnamon and xantham gum into a large bowl. Add the zucchini, raisins and chocolate and mix thoroughly.

5. Fold the butter mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined.

6. Pour evenly into the loaf tin and smooth the top with a spatula.  Bake for approximately 70 minutes, or until golden. Insert a skewer – if it comes out clean, it’s done; if not, cook for a further 5 mins. Cool in the tin.

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9 Responses to Spelt zucchini and chocolate loaf

  1. Michelle July 24, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

    Wow looks delicious! Would love to have an English Tea Party one day!

  2. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella July 24, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

    I adore vegetables in cakes! It makes them so utterly gorgeous and moist! And your tea party looks adorable. Love the tea set!

  3. Anna @The Littlest Anchovy July 26, 2012 at 12:37 am #

    What a lovely day you had! I really love this healthy recipe and am so interested in cooking with spelt soon. Love The Flavour Thesaurus!!

  4. Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies July 26, 2012 at 10:07 am #

    Oh, that loaf looks gorgeous! The best thing about summer is having a surplus of zucchini to use in baking. :)

  5. Iron Chef Shellie July 26, 2012 at 10:54 am #

    Lol, the sun shone for days here in Melbourne on the weekend too… I didn’t know what to do with myself :P

    I’m not one for zucchini, but I’ve had it in a cake before and didn’t notice it. Perhaps this is the way all zucchini should be consumed :P

  6. Jennifer @ Delicieux July 26, 2012 at 11:25 am #

    I’m yet to try zucchini cake, but a zucchini chocolate loaf sounds right up my street! Sounds like you had a wonderful day with your neighbour, your impromptu tea part looks like so much fun.

  7. Rachel - A Southern Fairytale July 27, 2012 at 11:41 am #

    May I just dive right in and have a bite? Oh my stars.. that looks delicious!!!

  8. Jen August 24, 2012 at 9:03 am #

    Oh they complained in Germany too about the wettest summer. Great that we visited family in Germany during that time while it was freakish hot in Calgary haha. Lovely recipe!

    • Amy August 24, 2012 at 9:07 am #

      We visited Germany two years ago during one of the coldest summers in history. Typical!

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